A positive start for new NHS chief, Simon Stevens, might be to change the constant negative discourse that surrounds the NHS. If first media reports are correct it’s not a good start. Discussion already appears to be focusing on ‘an ageing population’ and ‘budget cuts’. Whilst these are real, they being used to undermine the long term future of the NHS to open the flood gates to further privatisation.
I believe It’s time to see the NHS as an important part of the answer, not the problem, in our health care provision of the future. Here we have an organisation that provides health care to 60 million people. Access is not dependant on how much you can afford, or the conditions of a policy drawn up by an insurance company more interested in clauses and small print that can deny you care. The price you pay does not increase if you are found to be genetically predisposed to a certain condition. Just imagine a privatised healthcare system where health care provision was provided by profit-making companies like SSE, British Gas or BT. Not as out there as it seems, BT are big players in the expansion of TeleCare using their broadband in areas such as Cornwall. However, do private companies favoured by government adhere to the same founding values as the NHS where any type of care is concerned? Probably not if todays report on BT and the government is anything to go by.
The Commons Select Committee is very critical of the way in which the government and BT have behaved in the expansion of broadband to rural areas.
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:
“The Government has failed to deliver meaningful competition in the procurement of its £1.2 billion rural broadband programme, leaving BT effectively in a monopoly position.
BT’s monopoly position should have been a red flag. But we see the lack of transparency on costs and BT’s insistence on non-disclosure agreements as symptomatic of BT’s exploiting its monopoly position to the detriment of the taxpayer, local authorities and those seeking to access high-speed broadband in rural areas.
Now just replace ‘high speed broadband’ with ‘health care’.
Fanciful tosh on my part, maybe, but it’s what I believe. I believe in the NHS, it has its faults, I’ve written about them many times, however, as an experiment in equity and social justice in health care provision it has been the most successful in the world.
I really do not want to lose it.